What is Sin in a Toddler?
One of the most common ideas I am encountering in Adventist parenting today is that we need to parent sin out of our kids. Maybe it’s not phrased that exact way, but that is the essence of the ideas I hear. Things like “I help my child to connect with God so that they can war successfully against their flesh and follow God.” Or “If I can show them how to live a Christian life now by teaching them at all possible moments about the good Christian life, they’ll always be a part of God’s kingdom.”
Unfortunately, a lot it boils down to a need to have a child’s immediate outward behavior only look happy and ‘Christian’. One of the side effects of this is the idea that having a meltdown is sinful. It assigns a lot of negative intent to a wee one.
I think of Jesus in the wilderness, having not eaten for so many days. He was hungry. Is being hungry a sin? No. But hunger may be a result of sin. Or God may have created us with hunger pangs that needed to be assuaged. I just don’t know how He designed Adam and Eve.
In the same way, when a baby/toddler isn’t able to communicate their needs, they have a meltdown. Is a meltdown a sin? No. Is having a meltdown a result of sin? I don’t know. I don’t know if toddler behavior is how God created humans to be when they are little or if it is a result of the Fall.
One of the beauties of the briefness of Scripture is that we don’t get a lot of guidance as to HOW Mary and Joseph raised Jesus. Just that the Child grew and increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52). And when someone grows in an area, it implies that they didn’t come that way in the first place. 😉
We are also called to put away childish things when we are grown. So neurotypical adults having a meltdown? No. That’s not how God designed us. He designed us so that when we are grown up in Him, we have the fruits of the Spirit.
Just as a side note, fruits bloom at the right time, in their season. All fruit trees are made with the capacity to bear fruit, but they need to have the proper nourishment to grow up and bear fruit. Even so for us. We can all have the fruits of the Spirit, but it’s only as we’re attached to the One Who gives life, that we can bear these fruits.
In other words, while my children are the fruit of a womb, not even necessarily MY womb, I cannot make them sprout the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
So, did Jesus ever have meltdowns as a baby or toddler?
Posted on April 30, 2011, in The Journey and tagged Adventist, behavior, communication, fruits of the Spirit, growth, Jesus, meltdowns, SDA, Seventh-day Adventist, sin, tantrums, toddlers, womb. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.